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  • Writer's pictureKhawla Shehadeh

Climate Stress

Do you also suffer from climate stress? Maybe you recognise the constant undercurrent of guilt and shame in yourself too. With every tomato you take out of its plastic packaging, with throwing away things that have run out like electric toothbrushes or old Teflon pans, with buying fruit from the other side of the world, with eating meat and dairy products, with booking a flight holiday. There is judgement attached to everything. Always you are not doing it right (enough). The fate of the polar bear on its last square metre of ice floe and my consumption choices seem to go hand in hand. I am responsible for all the climate misery in the world if I am not conscious about everything I do. Many people, especially young people, suffer from this. Climate stress or even climate despair, it is called. We are talking about real fears and depression here. Some philosophers (like Wouter Kusters) and psychologists even speak of trauma for something to come.

When I look at films or photos from the 60s and 70s, I can become envious. I envy the naivety and guilt-free hedonism of the people in the picture. A stark contrast to how we live now where everything is so complicated. Whatever you do, you never actually do it right. Not for the environment, not for your health. There is always someone who has an opinion about it and those opinions change over time.

If you really allow the doom-mongering to penetrate your soul, the reality is hopeless and depressing. Trust in politics, capitalism, education and even our ancestors has been damaged. Many alarming reports and several international conventions were flouted in the past. Now it is finally a serious political issue, yet very little changes in the everyday. No more than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Even well-meaning initiatives that seem to be a (temporary) solution like solar panels, wind turbines and Tesla's in turn threaten to contribute even more to pollution. Hopeless. Anyway, what should we do with that? You can't look into the abyss all day. Who are you helping by completely eating you up inside?

In a somewhat holistic perspective, we as creatures are a part of the environment. Indeed, our bodies are made up of the elements. Did you know that the nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth and the iron in our blood come from the inside of collapsing stars? Each of us is part of the universe. There is no pitting man against nature, we are nature. Therefore, let us come back to ourselves to 'do something' about this human crisis. For we have lost sight not only of nature, but also of ourselves. We regularly overstep our limits, we put ourselves over being sick, we condemn ourselves, we don't take enough rest, we don't eat healthy, we don't drink enough water, w

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